November 26, 2008 / 4:28 AM / 10 years ago

Obama recalls fondness for Indonesian food as a child

JAKARTA (Reuters) - U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Jakarta, told Indonesia’s leader he would like to visit the Southeast Asian nation again and recalled a taste for local food.

Obama’s remarks were recounted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after a six-inute phone call between the two leaders.

“He greeted me with ‘apa kabar, Bapak Presiden’ (How are you Mr. President) in fluent Indonesian,” Yudhoyono was quoted as saying by the Koran Tempo daily.

Yudhoyono has just returned from a trip to the United States and South America, where he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).

“When I invited him to come to Jakarta during the APEC meeting in Singapore next year, he said coming to Indonesia is very important,” Yudhoyono said.

The Indonesian president said that Obama also said that besides forging greater cooperation between the two nations, a visit would give him a chance to try local food again including meatball soup, nasi goreng and rambutan, the paper reported.

Nasi goreng is a fried rice dish popular in Indonesia, while rambutans are a tropical fruit with a sweet translucent flesh.

Obama, who will be sworn in as the 44th U.S. president in January spent four years in Indonesia after his American mother married Muslim Indonesian Lolo Soetoro following the end of her marriage to Obama’s Kenyan father.

Indonesians have followed Obama’s political fortunes closely and the local media has been full of stories on his old school, the house he lived in, and the hopes of people in the world’s fourth-most populous nation.

Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Ed Davies

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